Pittsburgh turned the defensive screw on Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow last week and the consistency of Mike Tomlin’s men is to be applauded. Every week they come up with big plays on the defensive side of the ball and Big Ben’s young receivers step up in a big way.
The Chiefs are another ridiculously consistent team. Dating back to Week 11 of last season, KC have lost just one game – against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5. They face the Silver and Black on Sunday Night Football with Patrick Mahomes in imperious form.
More consistency here but for how much longer? The Saints have won six in a row but now have to fare without starting quarterback Drew Brees, who heads to the sidelines with multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung. Can Jameis Winston protect the football while minding the shop?
The Packers survived a scare at home to Jacksonville last week but in the up-and-down NFL world of 2020, they remain one of the league’s best. Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams is hard to stop and this offense can become more potent down the stretch once Aaron Jones gets going again.
The Ravens now have the 31st passing attack in the NFL and that is a problem in today’s game. It doesn’t stop Baltimore from being one of the better teams in this league but if their backs get up against a wall, can they throw themselves out of trouble? Super Bowl winners generally can.
Consistency is all I need to see in order to place the Bucs in the category of firm Super Bowl challengers. When it all comes together, this is a 500-yards-per-game operation on the offensive side of the ball. It now needs to come together week in and week out down the stretch.
I’ve tried not to hammer the Bills too hard here because they came within a Hail Mary pass of a very nice win in the Arizona desert. Josh Allen’s touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs was a thing of beauty and the defense is starting to wake up and play better in recent weeks.
But for a late rally with the game out of reach, the Dolphins forced rookie sensation Justin Herbert into the worst performance of his young career and shut down Keenan Allen. Defense and special teams shows up every week while Tua learns on the job at quarterback.
There are sexier teams on the NFL block, but the Los Angeles Rams are winning games and doing it with a physical rushing attack and a fearsome defense that ranks second in the league. How that running game fares with Andrew Whitworth now sidelined through injury is a concern.
Kyler Murray is playing like an NFL Most Valuable Player and that makes these Cardinals one of the feel-good stories of 2020 and a fun team to watch. Murray makes the Cards dangerous every week, but he also has to win wild shootouts because their defense is not very good.
The shine has come off the Seahawks with back to back losses and all eyes are on Russell Wilson, who has turned the ball over seven times in two defeats. Trust me, people… he is not the problem! A shoddy offensive line and a non-existent defense heap too much on Wilson’s shoulders.
Every time I feel ready to write the Colts off and jump off the Philip Rivers’ bandwagon (there are plenty of seats if anyone is interested in hopping aboard), Indianapolis rip off a big win and the veteran QB plays well. That said, this team is still powered by its defense and a very strong front seven.
The Raiders are playing the kind of football that old-school head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock envisioned when taking charge of this team. Last week saw the Silver and Black force five turnovers against Denver and rush for 200 yards. That’s right up Gruden’s alley!
The Titans have now lost three of their last four games after making a fast start to 2020. The importance of one man has an impact across the offense – when Derrick Henry is held in check, Ryan Tannehill’s quarterback numbers drop off. The success of one leads to excellent performances from the other.
The Vikings have climbed back to 4-5 with three straight wins and they could be 7-5 by the time we’re into December because their next three are against Dallas, Carolina and Jacksonville. Those are all very winnable games against defenses who will not be able to contain Dalvin Cook.
I have seen enough now to believe that all the Browns got with the first overall pick in the 2018 Draft was a high-priced game manager in Baker Mayfield. He has his moments at quarterback, of course, but you need to help him out with great situational coaching. He doesn’t look like a star at all.
The Patriots are kind of boring to watch but boring and winning is something Bill Belichick will take given the state of his roster from a talent point of view. New England are currently two games out of the playoff spots with seven to play. Even if they get there, they won’t make much noise.
Even if they win out, the best the Niners can muster in terms of a record is 10-6. That’s not happening in a season that has been devastated by injuries. That can happen to any team at any time, which is why you have to take advantage of an open Super Bowl window. The Niners didn’t and are not going back this year.
The Bears are starting to find a more predictable level at 5-5. But it is still disappointing after a 5-1 start. The offense didn’t look better in any way after Matt Nagy gave up the play-calling and now there is the real prospect of going back to Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. More losses beckon.
The Falcons are going to be dangerous the rest of the way, starting this weekend against New Orleans. Matt Ryan and his offensive buddies make plays every week and Atlanta have won three of their last four after an 0-5 start. That would have been four from four but for Todd Gurley’s ‘accidental’ touchdown.
I’ve been hugely disappointed with the Eagles and a shaky offensive line cannot be the only excuse for offensive failings. Carson Wentz has a quarterback rating of 73.1 this season and ranks 31st among all qualifying passers. When he is not trying to do too much, Wentz is missing makeable throws.
I admire the fight and the effort, but the Panthers don’t have enough defensive horses at the moment. This team has now lost five in a row and could be about to embark on a period of quarterback play led by XFL star P.J. Walker.
The likes of Matthew Stafford, the fast-rising D’Andre Swift and receivers Marvin Jones, Marvin Hall and Kenny Golladay make me want to believe in the Lions more than I do. Wins like last weekend are nice but Washington are far from an NFL powerhouse.
A late Justin Herbert touchdown pass to Keenan Allen kept an unwanted record alive for these Chargers. All seven of their losses have been by one score. That shows this team is not far away and I actually would like to see Anthony Lynn stay on as head coach. Chargers fans may beg to differ.
Like a boxer heading into a big fight, the Bengals were feeling themselves ahead of last weekend’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But as the great Mike Tyson once said… everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The Bengals got punched time and again and still have much growing to do.
These Giants have a tough schedule the rest of the way, but they are feisty and could yet sneak the NFC East. Much will depend on Daniel Jones playing a tidier game at quarterback and he has not turned it over in two weeks. Wayne Gallman is making plays at RB and the defense has surprised in a good way.
Deshaun Watson cuts a sympathetic figure, battling away on a losing team. Watson is having a great year and if you listen hard enough as he desperately scrambles around every Sunday you will hear the microphones pick up… “DeAndre, where are you?”
This is not the Drew Lock the Broncos thought they were getting in 2020. After a strong finish to his rookie 2019 campaign, Denver thought they had the answer at quarterback. Now, I’m not so sure. Lock is a dangerous combination… he plays with the aggression of Brett Favre but has no such skillset.
Chase Young has quietened down a bit in his rookie year but there are young players to build around on this team. Offensively, running back Antonio Gibson and receiver Terry McLaurin will be nice pieces for whoever comes in as the quarterback of the future.
The Cowboys have many problems but this one might be most glaring as they prepare to take on the Vikings in Week 11 – Dallas have the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense against the run. 2-7 is about to very quickly become 2-8 unless the Cowboys pull off something surprising this weekend.
I liked the way the Jags played at Lambeau Field in Week 10. There was an energy and freshness to the squad. They made a few big plays on offense and special teams and the defense flew to the ball. It didn’t look like Doug Marrone has lost this team… yet.
Not much to report here as the Jets are coming off their bye. They remain winless and rudderless.